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22 Apr, 2023 05:43

Ukraine launches fire sale of state assets – Bloomberg

Kiev reportedly seeks to make $400 million to shore up its budget
Ukraine launches fire sale of state assets – Bloomberg

Ukraine is looking for "brave" investors as it seeks to sell big state-run companies at distressed prices to raise funds for its aid-dependent budget, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing the head of the State Property Fund (SPF), Rustem Umerov.

Currently, more than 3,500 companies are listed as state-owned with almost 1,800 of them bankrupt and non-functional. The list for privatization includes distilleries and grain elevators, which could be of interest to investors, as well as hundreds of abandoned facilities, which will likely see limited demand.

"There are emerging markets, and there is an emergency market, and as an emergency market, we are one of a kind," Umerov said last week and called for investors "brave" enough to take the risk of putting their money into the war-torn country.

Touting possible future yields, he said that "this should be a 20x story for you in the future."

Kiev is hoping to earn over $400 million by selling companies ranging from a fertilizer producer to utilities, smelters and an insulin maker, the outlet said.

If the Ukrainian parliament approves the sale of large state companies in May, enterprises including ammonia maker Odessky Pryportovy Zavod, titanium producer United Mining and Zaporozhye Titanium-Magnesium Plant, insulin manufacturer Indar, and power generator Centrenergo PJSC will go under the hammer in the third quarter of the year, according to Umerov.

He added that another $190 million could come from leasing farmland, if lawmakers allow the fund to consolidate state-owned land.

One of the reasons behind the fire sale is that most Soviet-era enterprises listed on the fund's balance sheet are quickly losing value.

"If we don't sell them this year, then next year their only value will be real estate, and in the following year, just the land they stand on," Umerov said.

Confiscated property of Russian businessmen could be another source for shoring up the Ukrainian budget.

In late March, the SPF announced it was preparing the sale of the Demurinsky Mining and Processing Plant, which develops reserves of titanium-zirconium sands and was confiscated from Russian tycoon Mikhail Shelkov.

According to Umerov, the fund was also working on taking control of the assets of sanctioned Russian billionaires Vladimir Yevtushenkov and Oleg Deripaska, which include the Nikolaev alumina refinery owned by Rusal.

"If the state gives us other Russian assets confiscated by court ruling, we will put them up for privatization. We are moving as quickly as possible on all cases," Umerov said.

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